Billy Joel – Piano Man


Piano/Vocal/Guitar Songbook
Format: Softcover, 88 pages
Artist: Billy Joel
Arranger: David Rosenthal


David Rosenthal, Billy’s keyboardist and Music Director, has carefully arranged all the tracks from Joel’s classic 1973 release to combine the piano parts and vocal melodies into playable arrangements while transcribing those classic piano parts that are integral to each song. This book features the iconic title track and nine others: Ain’t No Crime • (The) Ballad of Billy the Kid • Captain Jack • If I Only Had the Words (To Tell You) • Somewhere Along the Line • Stop in Nevada • Travelin’ Prayer • Worse Comes to Worst • You’re My Home. Also includes a foreword by David Rosenthal.

Review from Keyboard Magazine
Why are we reviewing sheet music in 2013 for the 1973 album that put Billy Joel on the map? Because this isn’t your parents’ Billy Joel songbook. Retail sheet music sometimes omits or shortens solos, oversimplifies chords, and otherwise bastardizes how the artist really played the song. So Joel asked his longtime keyboardist and band director David Rosenthal to go over his entire catalog, correcting or sometimes entirely re-transcribing each piece. This is the first fruit of that labor, and Joel’s signature intros, solos, and flourishes are among the elements that are reproduced with loving detail and pinpoint accuracy. On songs where the original instrumentation was other than piano, Rosenthal has devised piano arrangements that sound great while still making room for any piano parts Joel played, note for note. We’ve always known Rosenthal to be a perfectionist, and here, that has created a new platinum standard for piano/vocal songbooks. It’s like discovering these songs all over again.

Click to read David’s Foreword

Having played keyboards in Billy Joel’s band since 1993, I have become very familiar with his music. In 2008, Billy asked that I review the sheet music to his entire catalog of songs. As I am also a pianist, he entrusted me with the task of correcting or re-transcribing each piece as required, to ensure that the printed music represent his songs exactly as they were recorded.

The challenge was to find musical ways to combine Billy’s piano parts and vocal melodies into a playable piano arrangement. First, the signature piano parts were transcribed and notated exactly as Billy played them on the original album (i.e. the classic intro to Piano Man, the honky tonk piano intro to Ain’t No Crime, the piano flourishes in the verses of Captain Jack, etc., etc.). The vocal melodies were then incorporated into the piano part in a manner which preserves the original character of the song.

On songs like “You’re My Home”, where the main instrument is acoustic guitar, the arrangement is adapted to be playable on piano but still maintains the integrity of what was originally recorded. On “The Ballad of Billy The Kid”, the piano part has been arranged to combine Billy’s piano and vocal melodies along with the band and orchestral parts, while still including exactly what Billy plays in the piano solo sections.

All of the songs in this collection received the same attention to detail. The result is sheet music that is both accurate and enjoyable to play, and remains true to the original performances.

Billy and I are pleased to present the revised sheet music to Piano Man in its entirety.


David Rosenthal
August 2011

Weight 12 oz

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